List of Vietnam War flying aces

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The claimed flying aces of the Vietnam War, pilots who shot down five or more enemy aircraft, include 19 North Vietnamese pilots (six MiG-17 and 13 MiG-21 pilots),[1]: 228  and five Americans.

A MiG-21 of the VPAF which became the primary fighter-interceptor against USAF and USN aircraft.

The American aces flew as members of two-man crews on F-4 Phantoms, reflecting the emergence of air-to-air missiles as the primary weapons of aerial combat. Two were pilots, two Air Force weapon systems officers, and two Navy radar intercept officer; both awarded an aerial-kill claim for each enemy aircraft shot-down.

Name Country Service Victories Aircraft
Nguyễn Văn Cốc[2] North Vietnam North Vietnam Roundel of Vietnam.svg VN People's Air Force 9 MiG-21
Mai Văn Cường[2] North Vietnam North Vietnam Roundel of Vietnam.svg VN People's Air Force 8 MiG-21
Nguyễn Hồng Nhị[2] North Vietnam North Vietnam Roundel of Vietnam.svg VN People's Air Force 8 MiG-21
Phạm Thanh Ngân[2] North Vietnam North Vietnam Roundel of Vietnam.svg VN People's Air Force 8 MiG-21
Đặng Ngọc Ngự [2] North Vietnam North Vietnam Roundel of Vietnam.svg VN People's Air Force 7 MiG-21
Nguyễn Văn Bảy[2] North Vietnam North Vietnam Roundel of Vietnam.svg VN People's Air Force 7 MiG-17
Capt. Charles B. "Chuck" DeBellevue[3] United States United States Roundel of the USAF.svg US Air Force 6 F-4 Phantom II D/E
Lê Hải[2] North Vietnam North Vietnam Roundel of Vietnam.svg VN People's Air Force 6 MiG-17
Lê Thanh Đạo[2] North Vietnam North Vietnam Roundel of Vietnam.svg VN People's Air Force 6 MiG-21
Lưu Huy Chao[2] North Vietnam North Vietnam Roundel of Vietnam.svg VN People's Air Force 6 MiG-17
Nguyễn Đức Soát[2] North Vietnam North Vietnam Roundel of Vietnam.svg VN People's Air Force 6 MiG-21
Nguyễn Đăng Kỉnh[2] North Vietnam North Vietnam Roundel of Vietnam.svg VN People's Air Force 6 MiG-21
Nguyễn Ngọc Độ[2] North Vietnam North Vietnam Roundel of Vietnam.svg VN People's Air Force 6 MiG-21
Nguyễn Nhật Chiêu[2] North Vietnam North Vietnam Roundel of Vietnam.svg VN People's Air Force 6 MiG-17, MiG-21
Nguyễn Tiến Sâm[4] North Vietnam North Vietnam Roundel of Vietnam.svg VN People's Air Force 6 MiG-21
Vũ Ngọc Đỉnh[2] North Vietnam North Vietnam Roundel of Vietnam.svg VN People's Air Force 6 MiG-21
Lt Randall "Duke" Cunningham[5] United States United States Roundel of the USAF.svg US Navy1 5 F-4 Phantom II
Lt j.g. William P. Driscoll United States United States Roundel of the USAF.svg US Navy 5 F-4 Phantom II J
Capt. Steve Ritchie[6] United States United States Roundel of the USAF.svg US Air Force1 5 F-4 Phantom II
Capt. Jeff Feinstein[7] United States United States Roundel of the USAF.svg US Air Force 5 F-4 Phantom II
Le Quang Trung [8] North Vietnam North Vietnam Roundel of Vietnam.svg VN People's Air Force 5 MiG-17, MiG-19
Nguyễn Văn Nghĩa North Vietnam North Vietnam Roundel of Vietnam.svg VN People's Air Force 5 MiG-21
Nguyễn Phi Hung [1]: 131  North Vietnam North Vietnam Roundel of Vietnam.svg VN People's Air Force 5 MiG-17
Võ Văn Man [1]: 51  North Vietnam North Vietnam Roundel of Vietnam.svg VN People's Air Force 5 MiG-17

One source reported that the North Vietnamese claimed to have shot down 218 U.S. manned aircraft in air to air combat in Vietnam, of those kills, 85 are not supported by U.S. records, while another 37 were attributed by the U.S. to surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft fire.[9] Another source claims that the U.S. attributed losses to surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft fire because it was considered "less embarrassing".[10] Estimates of North Vietnamese losses range from 131, as documented in North Vietnamese records; to 195, as claimed by U.S. records.[11]

William A. Sayers writing in 2019 asserted that North Vietnam only had three aces in the war including Phạm Thanh Ngân, with the other "aces" being creations of North Vietnamese propaganda that included claimed "kills" on days where no U.S. losses occurred, crediting VPAF pilots with kills that had actually been achieved by surface to air missile or antiaircraft artillery units and shootdowns of drones. He also stated that there were no MiG-17 aces.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Toperczer, Istvan (2015). MiG Aces of the Vietnam War. Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7643-4895-2.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Zampini, Diego (2012-03-23). "North Vietnamese Aces". acepilots.com. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  3. ^ Futrell, R. Frank (1976). United States Air Force in Southeast Asia 1965-1973: Aces and Aerial Victories. Air University, Headquarters USAF. pp. 93–105.
  4. ^ Toperczer, István (2017-09-21). MiG-21 Aces of the Vietnam War. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 95. ISBN 9781472823540.
  5. ^ Sherman, Stephan (2012-03-22). "Randy Cunningham". acepilots.com. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  6. ^ Boyce, Ward. "Brig. Gen. Steve Ritchie". tripod.com. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  7. ^ "Jeffrey S. Feinstein". Air Force Times. Archived from the original on 17 October 2014. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  8. ^ Toperczer, István (2016-10-20). MiG-17/19 Aces of the Vietnam War. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 52. ISBN 9781472812568.
  9. ^ Lednicer, David; Camp, Adrian (2002-06-09). "US Air-to-Air Losses in the Vietnam War". myplace.frontier.com. Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  10. ^ E., Gordon (2008). Mikoyan MiG-21. Dexter, Keith., Komissarov, Dmitriĭ (Dmitriĭ Sergeevich). Hinckley: Midland. ISBN 9781857802573. OCLC 245555578.
  11. ^ Air warfare: an international encyclopedia. Boyne, Walter J., 1929-. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. 2002. p. 679. ISBN 978-1576073452. OCLC 49225204.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  12. ^ William A. Sayers (7 May 2019). "How North Vietnam claimed more aces than it really had". HistoryNet. Retrieved 23 July 2022.

External links[edit]

  • Toperczer, Istvan, MiG-21 Units of the Vietnam War, Osprey Combat Aircraft #29, 2008; ISBN 978-1-84176-263-0
  • Michel III, Marshall L, Clashes, Air Combat over North Vietnam 1965-1972, Naval Institute Press, 1997; ISBN 978-1-59114-519-6